OSU Institute of Technology held its commencement ceremony on Friday, April 22, to recognize the achievements of the 221st graduating class.
"Every day of our lives, we have the occasion to be better people than we were the
day before," said OSUIT President Bill R. Path. "This graduating class is another
generation of the workforce who has chosen to better their lives and futures through
education. I'm proud of each and every graduate who walked across the stage Friday
Of the 255 students who graduated in this ceremony, 69% graduated with honors: 98 graduating Cum Laude, 53 Magna Cum Laude and 25 Summa Cum Laude.
Dr. Trey Hill, dean of OSUIT's School of Arts, Sciences & Health, served as the keynote speaker. He spoke about what it means to obtain a degree from an institution committed to innovation while remaining true to its original vision of improving communities and the workforce with educational investments.
Before joining OSUIT, Dr. Hill served as associate professor and department chair of the Department of Psychology at Fort Hays State University. He taught research methods, statistics and psychology courses to undergraduate and graduate students for seven years. Dr. Hill has also served as president of the Southwestern Psychological Association and later the organization's chief information officer.
"An education, the education recognized here tonight, does not stop with you. It has
a trickle-down effect for generations. It is bigger than yourself. Numerous people
in this room tonight will go forward into their communities with the skills and education
they have learned at OSUIT and contribute," said Hill. "No matter what happens the
rest of your life, there is a permanence to the thing you have accomplished tonight."
The student respondent, Trisha Bear from Henryetta, graduated with an Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts. Before pursuing her education at OSUIT, Bear served in the military for 21 years, four in the Marine Corps and 17 with the Army National Guard. She was named the 2021 Newman Civic Fellow, received the ORA Hospitality Association Award two years in a row, received the Women for OSU Scholarship and is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success. Upon graduation, she plans to continue her education and pursue a bachelor's in Business Management to open a gourmet restaurant.
Bear spoke about a near-miss rocket attack during her deployment in Iraq that changed the trajectory of her life.
"Several years after my deployment to Iraq, I used to look up at the sky and could
only see rockets falling from the sky, which increased my fear and anxiety. That was
the wake-up call that made me change my perception. Now, when I look up at the sky,
I see hope, count my blessings and use my Marine sheer determination to overcome any
challenge so that I never take life or freedom for granted."
She volunteers her time to veterans, including the Disabled America Veterans. The organization is close to her as a disabled veteran herself through an accident that left her with permanent neuropathy.
"That accident gave me a compassion for helping people deal with pain and not let
pain or disabilities rule my life. The talented and patient chefs at OSUIT helped
me by believing in my abilities and encouraged me to keep moving forward every day,"
said Bear. "Semper Fidelis is the Marine Corps motto that means "always faithful,"
and just like the OSUIT's motto, 'Be the one they Call,' we set the example as great
leaders in our profession."
Bear closed by speaking about the importance of kindness, giving back and serving the community. This is something she leads by example through her work with various veteran groups.
"I encourage all students to find a way to support your community because each of you has the exceptional ability to impact others with your sheer determination, work ethic and dedication to charitable efforts, she said. "The kindest people are not born that way; they are made through life's challenges. They are the souls that have experienced heartache and joy at the hands of life. They are the mentors who have dug themselves out of their darkest hours. They are the courageous leaders who have fought to turn every loss into a lesson. The kindest people do not exist; they choose to soften where circumstance has tried to harden them. They choose to believe in philanthropy because they have seen firsthand why compassion is so important in changing the path of life. A quote by Natalie Portman states, 'Our generation has the ability and the responsibility to make our fast-paced world a more hopeful, stable and peaceful place.'"